Event Archives

West-Eastern Divan Ensemble

Created by renowned conductor/pianist Daniel Barenboim and the late Palestinian scholar/author Edward Said in response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the West-Eastern Divan Ensemble promotes intercultural dialogue by bringing together leading musicians from countries around the Middle East. An octet of players from the broader orchestra is coming to the US for the second time in its history, led by one of the world’s top violinists, Michael Barenboim.

Bringing lesser-known gems from the chamber repertoire, the ensemble explores the potential of the octet form. Louis Spohr utilizes the instrumentation as a ‘double quartet’, splitting the ensemble down the middle with contrasting lines but combining the quartets for moments of climax. Widmann examines the resonant possibilities of the solo violin in his first étude, describing it as a “compositional exercise” and a “restricted experimental ground”. Enescu’s Octet rounds out the program, a piece considered to be pioneering in the establishment of repertoire for this instrumentation.


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Michael Barenboim’s 2011 performance of Schoenberg’s Violin Concerto with Pierre Boulez in the Cologne Philharmonie was the beginning of a remarkable career. Following this celebrated debut, he has since performed the Schoenberg concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic under Daniel Barenboim, the Chicago Symphony under Asher Fisch, the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta, and the Berlin Philharmonic under Vasily Petrenko. Michael regularly gives solo recitals in the world’s most prestigious concert halls, such as Wigmore Hall in London, the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, the Sydney Opera House, and Teatro di San Carlo in Naples. He presented a program with works by Pierre Boulez in Carnegie Hall, the Berlin Philharmonie, the Opéra National de Paris, the Barbican Centre in London, the Dortmund Konzerthaus, and the Salzburg Festival.

Michael has premiered numerous new works by composers such as Jörg Widmann, Kareem Rouston, and many others. He is a professor for violin and chamber music at the Barenboim-Said Akademie in Berlin, and has since 2020 been the academy’s Dean. In addition, he has founded the West-Eastern Divan Ensemble, a group derived from the world renowned Orchestra and spreading its message of dialogue and understanding in a more intimate setting. He has taken this ensemble on tours in the United States and Europe since ist creation in 2020.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael has performed with numerous orchestras. The 2022/2023 season has him touring South Korea with WKO, as well as performances all across Europe. Soloist and chamber music partners include Anne-Sophie Mutter, Pinchas Zukerman and Daniel Hope.

Michael Barenboim’s first solo album featured compositions by Bach and Bartók as well as Boulez’s Anthèmes 1 & 2. In 2018 there followed a CD with works by Tartini, Berio, Paganini, and Sciarrino. For Deutsche Grammophon, Michael has recorded the Mozart piano quartets and trios as well as the complete Beethoven piano trios – together with Kian Soltani and Daniel Barenboim.

Ravel: Sonata for Violin and Violoncello

Dvorak: Terzetto in C Major for Two Violins and Viola, Op. 74

Hindemith: Trauermusik for strings

Enescu: Octet for strings in C major, Op. 7



Michael Barenboim, violin
Mohamed Hiber, violin
David Strongin, violin
Samir Obaido, violin
Miriam Manasherov, viola
Sindy Mohamed, viola
Astrig Siranossian, violoncello
Assif Binness, violoncello

  • $49
  • $35
  • $10Duke Student Tickets
  • Sun, Feb 26, 2023 at 7:00pm
Baldwin Auditorium